Farewell Speech to the Leaver

stage is yours

So the stage is all yours!

Have a good time up there, and make sure everyone else does too, when you use the guidelines below.

The main ideas of a good farewell speech are to:

1. Express appreciation for the leaver’s contribution.

How long have they been with the organisation or workplace?
If only a short time, how have they shown their commitment to the organisation in that time?
At the very least, express how the position they filled was a great help to the company. For example, did they introduce a new method, idea, or write a procedure? Mention that they were part of the backbone of the workplace.

2. Include positive descriptions of the person.

Character descriptions affirm that the person was noticed and will be remembered.
Ensure all character descriptions are positive and accurate. If you can’t think of anything, find out from other people in the organisation – please make an effort to find something positive.
Sometimes difficult traits, in a less formal speech, are affectionately acknowledged, but don’t dwell on it, and include a positive spin on how these traits benefited the organisation.

MC-ing is fun, but I think I'd like to write a

private letter to that wonderful person.

3. Include one or two anecdotes that show why the leaver is so appreciated.

Anecdotes and character descriptions can humorous, profound, inspiring etc., but never at the expense of the person leaving. This is not the time to use any of that person’s negative experiences in the workplace as a lesson to others – do this behind their back after they leave!

4. Express how their leaving will impact on the organisation.

Talk about how or why their contribution will be missed (socially / productively / professionally etc).

5. Wish them well with a presentation of some kind of keepsake or gift.

The farewell gift is not compulsory but reinforces the message of appreciation.
These items can be as simple as a signed card, or a signed/engraved item from the workplace itself.
The point is to give the person something to remember the organisation / workplace / company by.
It’s also a natural way to conclude the speech (useful if you’re a rambler).

Are you the boss? You really need to read this.

Example speech

"Thank you everyone for being here,

Clearly I have been tasked the job of telling Annette what we really think of her and her work before she leaves, haha, just kidding, it is really an honour to say this to you Annette because I have valued our work friendship and God knows we all need one of those to get through the day sometimes...

Annette has spent 8 years with us, and in that time she has created a new department, won the prestigious community liaison award and become a large cog in a well-oiled and maintained machine. Her work in the X Project has resulted in X which I hope inspires others in what can be achieved. However, the most important achievement that has meant the most to us has been her diligent maintenance of the footy-tipping competition. 
Nobody has stepped up as yet, because the shoes are intimidatingly big.  But we will force someone.

Although Annette leaves a great big sinkhole behind, the positive is that it gives the rest of us the opportunity to learn the things that she was able to do so well - so we all have an opportunity to evolve and grow and hopefully be as skilled as she is.

I know I personally leaned on Annette for her sense of humour when the higher-ups regularly threatened a round of redundancies, or liked to come down and have their tantrums at us.  I admire Annette's integrity in that she never did the same to anyone here.  That said I think there was a lot of stress for her in having to manage up and keep us all in high enough spirits some days.  For that and more, Annette, thank you.

So from all of us, we hope you have all the best prosperity and fulfillment in your future endeavours. There is no doubt you'll make a success of future opportunities as you have here. Please accept this gift as gesture of how much we have treasured your company...  To Annette, everyone!  [Then queue everyone to  applaud for Annette.]"

This speech is short, however the managerial speech is shorter!

Sometimes the honoured person feels very shy or embarrassed at being the centre of attention, sometimes they might feel really touched and struggle not to cry at the kind words said to them and everyone's presence - this is why this website suggests a short speech to the person leaving.

If you know that the person loves, loves, LOVES being the centre of attention, then by all means pad the speech out with stories and anecdotes that the honoured person would appreciate. 

Make sure you ask that person first if they would prefer a long speech or a short one!

Speech done!  Now I need to organise the gift!